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Thursday, December 2, 2021

HCMC Eye Hospital deputy director detained over bidding irregularities

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Nguyen Tri Dung, deputy director of the State-run HCMC Eye Hospital, has been detained on alleged charges of bidding irregularities.

Ministry of Public Security investigators yesterday, November 24, pressed the same charges against three other officials of the hospital – Phan Thi Bich Hanh, head of the Finance-Accounting Division; Nguyen Do Nguyen, head of the General Department; and Luong Ngoc Tuan, deputy head of the Ophthalmology Department.

The police searched the hospital on the same day.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam on November 22 had given regulatory approval for decisions to prosecute and arrest the four accused.

This is the latest development of an investigation into the price gouging of intraocular lenses at the HCMC Eye Hospital.

In early February this year, investigators prosecuted and detained four other accused, the hospital’s former director Nguyen Minh Khai, two ex-deputy directors Vo Thi Chinh Nga and Phi Duy Tien; and Nguyen Quoc Toan, former head of the Department of Surgery and Anesthesiology at the hospital, for their alleged involvement in the case.

According to the investigation results, in 2018, the Eye Hospital arranged to implement a bidding package to purchase over 53,000 monofocal intraocular lenses, with a total investment of VND184 billion financed by the hospital, the Health Insurance Fund, and other sources to serve its medical checkup and treatment activities.

However, when it carried out the bidding package, a number of officials at the hospital violated regulations on bidding to eliminate intraocular lenses that met technical standards and whose bidding prices were the lowest, and instead, purchased those whose bidding prices were higher.

Nguyen Minh Khai, the then director of the hospital, directed some doctors who were members of an appraisal council for sample products, to falsify the bidding results to eliminate the products offered by a bidder, Codupha Company.

Khai knew that products from bidders such as the Codupha, Tam Hop and Hao Tin companies met the technical requirements for the bidding. However, he asked his subordinates to use criteria not included in the bidding documents to illegally eliminate the products offered by Codupha.

The accused also committed other violations to permit two other companies to win the bid.

According to the investigators, their alleged violations resulted in the Health Insurance Fund and patients having to pay extra money for using services related to intraocular lenses. The violations have also caused total losses of VND14.2 billion, with losses worth VND5.2 billion suffered by the Health Insurance Fund.

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